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Families benefit from camp matchmaker's support and expertise
Montrealer Aviva Reinitz leads parents through the labyrinthine camp and teen tour selection process by providing professional support and expertise. The free service is a boon to parents. In this age of specialization, there are camps and teen programs pertaining to every conceivable sport, skill, academic pursuit and travel experience. Furthermore, parents may seek camps that cater to youngsters with special needs, health and dietary regimens.
A devoted wife and mother of two, Reinitz harbors fond memories of the many summers she spent at overnight camp. Moreover, her 13-and 17-year-old daughters have followed her footsteps attending overnight summer camps up north, teen tours and sports programs. Hence, when she was invited in 2009 to come aboard The Camp Experts & Teen Summers, a free summer camp and teen program advisory service, she welcomed the challenge. Parents don’t pay for the service. Agents receive a commission from the respective camp, when campers enroll.
“I’m able to apply my knowledge and experience as a camper, parent and business person,” she says, noting the business acumen she acquired during the 18 years, she worked in tandem with her father at his furniture firm in Terrebonne, Quebec. Fluently bilingual in English and French, Reinitz derives a lot of gratification from her present pursuit. “I love being able to help families and as a mother, it’s handy to be able to work from home.”
Besides interacting with parents by phone, online and in-person, Reinitz also goes out on the road. She conducts camp fairs and visits camps during the summer. Currently, she is the company’s sole agent in Canada.
Established in 1987, The Camp Experts & Teen Summers is headquartered in New York City. Owner Joanne Paltrowitz liaises with 33 agents from North America, Europe, Asia and other habitats. Agents glean up-to-date information through the company’s database of 1000 different participating camps, teen tours and programs. Furthermore, agents confer with one another and they develop a close rapport with camp owners.
Last summer, Reinitz visited camps in Ontario, Connecticut, Maine, the Adirondacks, the Berkshires; New Hampshire is next on her list. “We (agents) evaluate them on cleanliness, safety, facilities, amenities, food, and activities,” she said, pointing out if the camp doesn’t meet company standards, it’s off the list. “On a personal level, I always ask myself, ‘Would I send my children here?’”
Today, many teenagers want to gain exposure to different fields, Reinitz observes. Some look for internship programs to prepare for a profession, hone language skills, engage in community service or test the territory. At the other end of the spectrum, Reinitz says parents sending their youngsters to camp for the first time appreciate empathy and advice. Besides the venue and type of camp, parents often look for two or four-week sessions, instead of a full season. Furthermore, Reinitz takes the family’s budget into account, suggesting there are camps to suit all pocketbooks.
An ardent camp advocate, Reinitz says campers make lifelong friendships, develop new interests and learn to be independent. Grateful parents invariably call to tell her what a good time their children had and how they can’t wait to return the next season.